29 January, 2010

Figs, olives and apples

Our fig trees are laden with masses of luscious ripe figs. When I eat the fruit, straight from the tree, it is usually warm and sun baked. But this morning we had high cloud again, and the fruit was cool. Thru the kitchen window we hear the starlings feasting with delight, who used to nest in the gutters, next to our insulated metal roof. The bird on the nest was often standing on the outer edge, beak a gape. And delighted to go off duty, and have a quick bathe in the pond. Or at least to catch a quick drink, before dashing off shrieking - Food, Food, Food, they always want more Food!!! There are also a crowd of red faced mouse birds - with their long tails, and jaunty little crests. But too shy, and gone, before the camera was out. 


28 January, 2010

Dozen for Diana 7 - Restios

Since Piet  Oudolf, gardeners have learnt to see swathes of various grasses as desirable. Things of beauty. No longer weeds=OUT. Reeds and grasses have morphed into something we seek out. To plant in our garden, and enjoy.

(This post was originally published on the 9th November last year)

If you have been following Dozen for Diana, so far I have chosen a focal point/informal hedge, a small tree, a variegated groundcover, some colourful groundcover daisies, a white arum and a white pelargonium - for my imaginary smallish, townhouse/courtyard garden. 

26 January, 2010


What is that small noise? Frantic flapping. Follow that cat. It is a Blue Emperor dragonfly, lying on the water flailing his wings. I am guessing it was newly hatched, and pumping up his never been unfolded before wings. So I fished him out of the water, perched him on a nearby pelargonium. Distracted the cat from his prior claim. Sadly, later in the day, the Ungardener found a dead dragonfly lying in the water. Same one? Old or injured, rather than frail newborn?? (Remember this post from September? Young dragonfly going to fly)

When I worked in Zurich, I used to walk to work via the bridge over the Limmat river. One morning as I approached the water I heard frantic, fighting with his last breath for his life, flapping. From the bridge looking down into the water, I saw a pigeon. Just one of those 'flying rats' . Not being a water bird, the more he flapped the wetter, more sodden and heavy he got. And slowly, patiently, languidly circling, not much farther above him. Were the seagulls. Being Swiss, they have all had their heads dipped in good Lindt chocolate. Their menace, just waiting until the pigeon is too weak to fight any more. Those minutes walking across the bridge, time stood still in horror. Living thru Hitchcock's The Birds.

But pigeons are a problem in the city. Because the people, who are the real problem, leave lots of food out. So on another morning early. The sharpshooters were out, dressed in their regulation camouflage.

And on one of these lovely cool fresh mornings, with high cloud cover, when the insects are displaying themselves, while waiting patiently for the sun to come thru. This red-veined dropwing dragonfly - was one of the last pictures our dead camera took.

Photos and written by Diana of  Elephant's Eye 

25 January, 2010

January flowers in our garden

Just before our camera threw up its hands, and said - Right I'm off - and gave up the ghost …

Abelia and Adam-ant

We had a morning with the tail end of sea fog rolling in from Langebaan lagoon, and rising when it hits our mountains, to give us a dense cover of low cloud. One grateful reason why, altho it gets HOT in Porterville, it doesn't get as hot as it does, over the mountain, and inland to the Karoo. Semi-desert.

11 January, 2010

Bulrush or Bullrush

We have been gardening for over 30 years, so I no longer remember if we once bought this. At the annual plant sale at Kirstenbosch? Or if it came as a bonus with another waterplant? Or if birds, or the wind gifted it to us? There was a clump of bulrushes in the patio pool at the first house. And that was one of the plants that travelled with us. Had to find a temporary home for the ‘pond’ while we were in a rented house, and the second house was built. Then of course it took a long time to make the pond since the Ungardener does the Ungardening himself, with some help for the really heavy labour. He didn’t actually DIG the pond himself.

We used 2 large baby baths April 2007

05 January, 2010

Really tiny dairy farmers with really tiny cows

Remember the tiny tigers? Now go down another level. Gardeners know that the problem with trails of ants on their beloved and treasured plants is … that those ants protect scale insects. And scale insects are a problem because they take the sap from MY Plants, and use it for THEMSELVES. GRRR!

But here at Elephant’s Eye we garden for wildlife. We share. Some for us, some for whatever wildlife is friendly. So put aside that grownup GRRR ants and scale insects mentality and come with me. Retrieve your childhood sense of wonder … here and now … Step down into Macroworld like Alice in Wonderland.


04 January, 2010

Dozen for Diana 2 - Trimeria

What would have been the first tree you planted?
The one you LOVE, happy in your soil and climate?

Trimeria grandifolia

Trees take so long to grow, they whine. But that is only because you didn’t plant them years ago.

Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
For real time, click on the map.